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What do you call your chidlren?

This has been an issue for me for a while and I am wondering what others do.  When referring to the children that I made, I never know what term to use. This has become more of an issue as I have started blogging. I’m not a huge fan of t"biological children” although I do use it by default. I feel like all children are biological.  Same with the term natural, anyone met an artificial child? Anyone have any good ways to describe the “fruit of your loins?”




I use the term “birth children” IF I need to make a divisional statement between them and my adopted children or my foster children. When posting, I shorten that to BC, AC, or FC. Doesn’t take long for others to get it, especially if you use the longer version and then the shorter version the rest of that post.

Posted by De on Mar 29, 2011 at 9:38pm

I call them MY children… because they are ALL my children!! Why use ANY other word for it???

Posted by linda on Mar 29, 2011 at 9:52pm

I don’t see anything wrong with any of the discriptions you mentioned. They are what they are, you might say genetic offspring??  I personally use natural because it sounds less clinical then the other ones.

Posted by AR MOM on Mar 29, 2011 at 9:54pm

Good question—here are what some of our Facebook followers shared:

Kay: I say I am a mother through birth and adoption or a muti-method mother. I don’t mind saying Aaron is my biological son and we adopted Natalie from Russia. Those words don’t bother me at all.

Jennifer: I like to think of having my bio kids naturally, and this adoption we are pursuing is bringing us a daughter” super-naturally “. God is guiding our way to each other and it has twists and turns and waiting and excitement. We are learning more about Him through this process.He led us to this choice and He knows who He has for us and the perfect timing. That’s His Supernatural doing!!!!

Martha: Using ‘natural’ is not positive adoption language. Why? It implies adoption is unnatural, which is wrong on all sorts of levels. I like Kay’s take best: a mom through birth and adoption.

Alison: I don’t love it either, I use “biological” too. While all my kids are biological and all of them are mine not all of them are “my biological” children. I have a friend that calls her Bio kids “home grown” which is cute.

Roxanne: Don’t show partial they are all your children after all you are providing for them all.

Michelle: We don’t have enough words for our families. Try doing a panel with adoptees and they say ” MOM” and the whole room needs clarification every time if mom is birth mom or adoptive mom and both sound so technical.

Mary: they are all my kids, doesnt matter wich form they entered our lives. my bio kids have a different spark, but tend to bond just as well with they “adopted kids”

Suzette: They are all my children. They all call me “Mom” and when they talk about their birth Mom they call her “Birth Mom”. We have adopted all of our children but so many people say, I thought _____ was your real child and the rest were adopted. I guess they do this because he came as a newborn when we lived in another state and was an only child for 11 years. I have to let them know at this time that they are all my real children and that we adopted all of them. I have never labeled them as “adopted children” because they are not, they are my children that we adopted. If I had a birth child, they would be my child also, that I gave birth to.

Kimberlee: I don’t think it matters how they came into your life, they are a part of your heart, your soul just your kids. And blessings, gifts from God. Why question it? I think when I adopt, I will tell them that this is how you came to us because your other mommy and daddy gave us a great gift. That we already had your brother and sister as gifts but you complete our family. xoxo

Jane: I agree that we don’t have enough words in our language to describe family relationships. With my foster children right now I am using “first mom” for their bio mom, because that’s the way they think of her. They have called successive foster mothers “mom” too. I have also heard adoptive parents use the term “birth giver” for the bio mom when the children never knew her, and “real mom” for the adoptive mom, or “forever mom.”

See the (very active) thread, here:

Posted by AFCommunityEditor on Mar 30, 2011 at 2:30am

I am the mom of four through adoption. I get frustrated when people ask me, as they do regularly, ‘are they yours?’

Of course they’re mine! Who else’s would they be?! They are MY children and so I say “Of course!”

What if I asked a mom with her children in the grocery store if she had had her kids by cesarean? Or   did she use fertility drugs?  While adoption is important to our family as part of our story, it really isn’t relevant to acquaintances and strangers.  And it is up to us to set the tone.

This is really really important for our adoptive children. Especially in blended families. Because they pick up on this negative language and it affects their self image.

I feel like there is a lot of negative adoption talk out there and it is up to us who are the parents of these beautiful children to lead the way towards creating a more enlightened view of adoption.

Thanks for this great topic.

Posted by adoptiongoddess on Mar 30, 2011 at 4:14am

I don’t make a distinction between my children unless I’m having an adoption-related conversation (like this one).  Both of my children are “my children.”  No qualifiers are necessary.

But when I’m discussing adoption for any of a variety of reasons—whether in verbal or written conversation, I refer to my son as my “bio” or “biological” son, or sometimes my “son via biology.”  Similarly, I’ll say that my daughter is “adopted” or my “daughter via adoption.” 

Getting back to Kate’s original point, it’s true that all kids arrive on the planet through biology.  They’re not robots.  But sometimes we find ourselves needing to distinguish the way in which they became our children—say, if we’re trying to figure out if a behavioral issue is adoption-related or not—and then the fact is that kids born to us became part of our families through the biological process of having a baby, while adopted kids came to us through a different, but equally valuable and valid process. 

Using “biological” and “adopted” when I need to, I hope, lets me make the necessary distinction so that I can continue with the conversation, but it also makes it clear that I’m only referring to the facts of how they came to be part of our family and that both of my kids got here through equally natural and desirable processes.  In the end, they’re both my kids.

Posted by Tracy Hahn-Burkett on Mar 30, 2011 at 8:23pm

I totally agree with everyone who says ” THEY ARE MY CHILDREN!!!” I even hate when some parents say thats my stepSON, why cant it just be your Son!! Family is Family and terminology in my opinion can sometimes be hurtful especially if a child is hearing it and processing it a certain way!! your child knows that they are adopted or may be a step, so why does it need to be mentioned! they are YOURS adn to me thats what matters most!!

Love is Love
Mama T

Posted by MamaT on Apr 08, 2011 at 10:57pm

Our nine children- now teens and adults—prefer that we say, so-and-so was born and then adopted into our family, and so-and-so was born to us IF there is a reason to explain that they became members of our family in different ways.

  By the way, if and when someone asks or says that only those of our children born into the family are our “real” children, we handle the situation in this way.  We say, with all of the intense horror that we feel:  “SURELY you are not intending to imply that only children born into a family are AUTHENTIC members, while those born and then adopted are less- than-authentic or “real,”  ARE YOU??  For that is an nsulting, though common misconception that we always correct when we hear it.”

Posted by Jane Brown on Jun 01, 2011 at 12:11pm

Somehow I was not receiving these responses via email and I am so glad that I just looked at this post and that so many people have commented.  Everyone’s postings are so interesting and I have really appreciated reading them. 

Our adoptions are fairly obvious as they are transracial so it is rare that I need to qualify who was adopted and who was not when I am talking with anyone who has seen my family. But when I am blogging or talking to people about adoption, it can be helpful to distinguish. As a fledgling blogger who likes to write about how raising my bio and adopted children is more similar than different, it is often necessary to explain how a particular child entered my family and this is where I run into trouble.

I have used the term birth children and received negative feedback because I was told that made me sound like a birth mother (which technically I suppose I am but it confuses the issue).  I have been using the bio/adopted language but like I said earlier it does bother me as all of my kids are biological beings.  I am debating using the words vaginal children out of frustration.

Thank you all so much for your insights.  I am still struggling with this but for the time being will continue with the bio.adopted terminology.  It helps me to think of what Tracy wrote - “ also makes it clear that I’m only referring to the facts of how they came to be part of our family and that both of my kids got here through equally natural and desirable processes.”

Posted by kthlava on Jun 09, 2011 at 4:39am

I did end up blogging about it - I’d love your thoughts. -

Posted by kthlava on Jun 09, 2011 at 6:33pm

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